KUALA LUMPUR – Working in big cities can take its toll on anyone. The hours spent in commute, the rush to fulfill multiple commitments and spending over nine hours a day facing computer screens can put anyone under stress.
Such a lifestyle is unfortunately the norm today. However, it could adversely affect a person’s mental and physical health if left unchecked, said Dr Muhammad Muhsin Ahmad Zahari from Universiti Malaya.
“A biological reaction (that affects the nerves and the blood circulation)takes place when a person feels stressed out. It is generally regarded as a psychological problem, but the stress can actually even disrupt the physical system.
“This can lead to headaches, back aches and a short temper,” said the consulting psychiatrist to Bernama.
He said the sources of stress should immediately be managed by engaging in favourable activities.
Many today choose to de-stress by taking time out for a vacation, exercising and unwinding at a spa.
Samsia Samsi, 29, from Gombak, finds that a monthly visit to the spa helps her clear her mind and relax.
She found the unique interior decoration of spa houses and the instrumental music played within were soothing enough.
“I like to come here to de-stress. My job takes me outside and can sometimes be very gruelling. It takes a toll on my skin as well.
“As a woman, we want to always look our best. The massage and facial soothes tensed muscles and revitalises the face. This is a technique for self rejuvenation that dates back to our ancestors,” she said.
The are many spa services available today offering a variety of massage, from traditional Malay to Thai massage.
Today, spas are no longer services that are only affordable for the rich. Prices are reasonable.
Spas today are popular among all ages and gender, as is evident with the number of such businesses sprouting nationwide.
Although the spa industry in Malaysia is rather behind when compared with Indonesia and Thailand, it is making up for lost time with aggressive growth.
The industry contributes greatly to the nation through the tourism sector.
“People are starting to realise the benefits of spa services. Just a 45-minute massage can improve a person’s immune system. A spa treatment not only relieves muscle tension but a tensed mind as well,” said the president of the Association of Malaysia Spas (AMSPA) Norliza Othman.
According to a news report, the spa industry is expected to contribute some RM666.2 million to the gross domestic product.
It is also expected to create some 6,000 job opportunities by 2020, according to the data provided by the Tourism and Culture Ministry on their webpage.
The promising potential of the industry was also what made Yantie Samsuri determined to join the sector after finishing her Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examination.
After 14 years in the business, she is now the proud owner of “Airish Beauty & Spa”.
“It has become the trend for the majority of people to go to spas to rejuvenate and pamper themselves. This is why my business is able to survive until today,” she said.
Yantie was aware of the stiff competition and ensured that her business stood out from the rest.
Besides providing quality services, she also offered a variety of massages such as the popular stone massage, the Indonesian “totok” massage”, the Japanese massage, the Balinese “boreh” massage and the Swedish massage.
It is therefore not surprising that Airish Beauty and Spa was featured in the 2014 November edition of the bridal magazine Pesona Pengantin, as one of 13 best spas for self-pampering.
At the same time, the spa industry has also opened up its doors for single mothers and those from disadvantaged communities.
The government is currently aiding the effort by providing training for the target groups to open up their own home-based or mobile spa services.
The Tourism and Culture Ministry launched the Spa Therapy Training Programme for the purpose in 2012.
“There is still a shortage of highly-skilled local masseurs to fulfill current demands, but such programmes can help fill the gaps faster,” said Norliza.
AMSPA, a member of the National Spa Council, is also collaborating with government institutions like GiatMara to provide training for workers at spas owned by its members.
The move is to help reduce the dependency on foreign spa therapists. This is in line with the Home Ministry’s decision to halt the services of foreign therapists by Jan 1, 2017. – Bernama